Calgary Flames (30-26-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (27-24-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 23, 2017, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -140 / Calgary Flames +127 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Calgary Flames look to continue their recent success against the Eastern Conference as they travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning.
The Flames look to generate some consistency down the stretch and make a push for a playoff spot in the Pacific division and they can start with a follow up win from their last outing with another strong performance in this one against the Bolts. Calgary came into the season as a dark horse team in the Western Conference but a lackluster start and their inability to follow up one good game with another has them battling just to stay afloat and they have their work cut out for them down the stretch. Calgary is a modest 2-7 in their last nine games following a victory and while the Lightning haven’t had a great season they have won five of their last seven and have claimed six of eight against Western Conference opponents. Brian Elliott is expected to get the nod as he will face off against Ben Bishop who will look to reclaim top spot in the Tampa Bat crease.
The Lightning meanwhile have turned things up of late and are starting to look like the group that many expected to see from the first whistle this season but it may be too little too late for them as they are going to have to go on a tear in order to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs. Tampa is expected to be active at the trade deadline as Ben Bishop is the biggest name of theirs on the block as he is rumored to be going to a number of different teams, including tonight’s opponent in Calgary who has struggled with goaltending all year. Tampa has had their own battles with inconsistency this season and they are a porous 3-12 in their last 15 games following a win and much like the Flames, they have become their own worst enemy.
Calgary is 7-15 in their last 22 after allowing five or more goals in the previous game and 4-1 in their last five playing on one day’s rest while the Bolts are 1-5 in their last six Thursday games and 5-2 in their last seven overall. The line here is out of sorts as Tampa shouldn’t really be favoured against anyone but we are getting to see some glimpses of what was possible from this team and I think they continue their late season surge.